CEDA event promotes collaboration as key to improved R&D

A recent Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event in Sydney focused on how collaboration between government, researchers and industry can help accelerate research and development in Australia.

Parliamentary Secretary to the NSW premier Gabrielle Upton MP addressed the CEDA audience and shared stakeholder feedback and early learnings about the Accelerating R&D in NSW initiative that she leads.

“The goal is to make NSW the R&D leader within Australia and a world class contributor,” said Upton.

In early discussions with the Advisory Council and stakeholders, Upton said, four levers have emerged for creating a thriving R&D ecosystem: government action and participation in the R&D ecosystem, attracting and retaining the best talent and investment to NSW to grow the R&D ecosystem, supporting start-ups to scale up and commercialise research, and enhancing collaboration between stakeholders.

Upton said one example where the government supports coordination and collaboration between different stakeholders is the NSW Research Networks.

“These [NSW Research Networks] are based around an industry sector, such as the NSW Smart Sensing Network, and bring research, government and industry together to identify and solve challenges,” Upton said.

“The Smart Sensing Network has attracted significant research projects to NSW, including a $3 million industry-funded project to develop quantum sensing solutions for water utilities in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

“This project has also received interest from overseas water utilities.”

The NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN) was established in July 2016 with funding from the NSW Government through the Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer.

The NSSN brings together the world class research taking place in NSW universities with state government agencies and industry to develop innovative solutions to critical challenges that cutting-edge research in smart sensing could play a crucial role in solving.

Upton is working with an Advisory Council of eminent leaders in innovation, business, government and the tertiary education sector to develop an Action Plan to accelerate R&D in NSW.

The Council’s Chair, David Gonski AC, also shared his insights on opportunities to better harness R&D as part of the CEDA panel which included NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte.

“Collaboration and execution are fundamental if we are to harness the power of R&D to solve our big challenges,” Durrant-Whyte said.